March 29th, 2010
05:47 PM ET

The Dow is up, dollar softens versus euro

Dow at new 18-month highs

Stocks gained Monday, pushing the Dow to its highest point in a year-and-a-half, after a report showing a rise in consumer spending added to bets about the strength of the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 45 points, or 0.4 percent, according to early tallies, ending at 10,895.86, the highest point since September 26, 2008, when it closed at 11,143.13. The S&P 500 index gained 6 points, or 0.6 percent. The Nasdaq composite rose 9 points, or 0.4%.

"It looks like we have a nice, uplifting session, fueled by some end-of-quarter portfolio rebalancing in a holiday-shortened week," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co.

The first quarter ends Wednesday and currently the Dow is up 4 percent, the S&P 500 is up 4.6 percent and the Nasdaq is up 5.6 percent. Dickson said that when stocks have had a positive quarter, end-of-quarter machinations tend to be positive, as managers look to play catch up.

Dollar softens vs. euro on Greece hopes

The dollar fell against major currencies Monday as the euro continued to strengthen on last week's announcement that European Union leaders will aid debt-stricken Greece if necessary.

What prices are doing: The dollar lost ground against the euro, falling 0.5% to $1.3479. The greenback also slipped 0.6% against the British pound, trading at $1.4983.

The dollar was little changed versus the yen at ¥92.47.      

What's moving the market: Last week, European Union leaders met at a summit in Brussels and approved an emergency bailout plan that could be used to rescue the Greek economy. The aim is to contain Greece's crisis and prevent it from snowballing across Europe.

Treasurys fall on lower demand

Treasury prices continued to fall Monday following tepid auctions last week.

What prices are doing: The benchmark 10-year note fell 17/32 to 97-21/32 and its yield rose to 3.87 percent. The 30-year bond fell 27/32 to 97-6/32 with a yield of 4.78 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 5-year note fell 13/32 to 99-5/32 with a yield of 2.61 percent. The 2-year note fell 20/32 to 99-9/32 with a yield of 1.06 percent.

What's moving the market: Consumer spending and income numbers released by the Commerce Department Monday came in as expected, and weren't major market movers. Personal spending rose for a fifth straight month in February, while personal income was virtually unchanged. Stocks posted modest gains in wake of the news.

Oil prices soar above $82

Oil prices soared Monday as Europe inched closer to a solution for Greece's debt crisis, sending the dollar down against the euro.

What prices are doing: Crude oil prices for May delivery rose $2.17 to settle at $82.17 a barrel. After four weeks of declines, prices began the week down just $1.01 below a 2010 peak of about $83.18 a barrel.

What's moving the market: Prices soared amid hope that Europe is closer to a solution to Greece's lingering debt problems. reporters Julianne Pepitone, Annalyn Censky, Alexandra Twin and Chavon Sutton contributed to this report.

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